The MSI NX7950GX2 is clearly the fastest performing graphics card I have ever used. The only remaining question I have is how will the NX7950GX2 perform, when paired with a mid-range system, in one of the most graphically demanding games on the market?
There are numerous fans of the The Elder Scrolls series of role-playing games (RPG) and the recently released Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has brought new life into the genre. Using the vast area of Tamriel, Bethesda Softworks has created another hit that graphically increases the wow-factor by several levels. The visuals are very good to excellent, but they do come at a price.
With no internal benchmark in Oblivion, I took the liberty of developing a gameplay walkthrough while using Fraps to collect frame rate data. The trek for the walkthrough was from outside the gate at Cloud Ruler Temple to the vantage point at the Bruma North Gate. Testing only at a 1680x1050 resolution, numerous walkthroughs were conducted at a variety of graphics settings. The results reflect the average of at least three repeated walkthroughs with inconsistent or abnormal results discarded.
Oblivion Gameplay Performance
With the NX7950GX2, my preference in Oblivion includes a 1680x1050 resolution, a video quality preset of High, HDR, and 16X AF forced in the driver. Gameplay is extremely smooth and responsive, but performance does take a significant hit in outdoor areas that feature a generous amount of grass and foilage.
Although not depicted in the benchmark results, I also conducted a walkthrough at the Ultra High video quality preset, which caused a 17% drop in the average frame rate. I have not played Oblivion at the Ultra High setting for extended periods of time, but I did not experience any performance issues in the walkthrough. The NX7950 GX2 surpassed my expectations in Oblivion even though I had been satisfied with the performance from a GeForce 7900 GT.
The MSI NX7950GX2 is a high performance graphics card as illustrated by the benchmark results in this review. There is no doubt that NVIDIA designed the GeForce 7950 GX2 for the upper-echelon enthusiast. I was initially impressed with the GeForce 7950 GX2 after reading the preview here at nV News and I am further impressed after some hands-on experience with it. As a self-proclaimed enthusiast, I am naturally on the lookout for that second card. Quad SLI, anyone?
The NX7950GX2 offers exceptional performance and should be matched with a high-end processor to lessen bottlenecks. However, I completely enjoyed the brief gaming sessions during the time I worked on this review. The price tag is steep, but MSI NX7950GX2 provides advantages over other high-end graphics card solutions. When you consider that a second GeForce 7950 GX2 can be added to form a Quad SLI configuration, there is no present equal to the overall performance generated by such a configuration. And it is only going to improve as NVIDIA's driver development team continues to fine tune Quad SLI drivers.
I am impressed with the MSI NX7950 GX2's "can't touch me" performance, which makes it a desirable component for the serious gamer's dream machine. Performance, stability, uniqueness, and ease of use are just a few of the factors that contribute to awarding the MSI NX7950 GX2 the nV News "Grand Slam" Award.
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